76ers Send Barkley to Suns : Pro basketball: Controversial forward traded after acquittal in Milwaukee. Philadelphia gets Hornacek, Lang and Perry.
Charles Barkley’s stormy and stellar career with the Philadelphia 76ers ended Wednesday when he was traded to the Phoenix Suns for guard Jeff Hornacek, center Andrew Lang and forward Tim Perry.
The announcement came within hours of Barkley’s acquittal on battery and disorderly conduct charges in Milwaukee. Barkley learned of the trade while at the airport.
“I just want this trade stuff to be over one way or the other so I can concentrate on basketball,” Barkley said. “Phoenix is not a bad place. I could play golf every day.”
Jim Lynam, who recently moved from coach of the 76ers to general manager, said the 76ers’ new players will fit better with new Coach Doug Moe.
“We are extremely happy to acquire these three players. We feel they will mesh tremendously in the Doug Moe system,” Lynam said.
Hornacek, 29, led the Suns in scoring (20.1 points) and steals (1.9) in 81 games last season. The 6-foot-4 guard ranked third in the NBA in three-point shooting (43%).
Perry, 27, averaged 12.3 points and 6.9 rebounds, and Lang, 25, averaged 7.7 points and 6.7 rebounds. Perry was a star at Temple University in Philadelphia.
“This team was in a position to end up with one of the top basketball players in the world,” Phoenix President Jerry Colangelo said. “This adds some of the things we’ve needed for a long time. When you’re talking physical presence on the court, leadership on the court, it is there.”
Barkley’s constant criticism of his teammates and the 76er front office made it a stormy eight seasons in Philadelphia, and last season was filled with controversy.
Barkley started the season by accusing the 76ers of racism in roster decisions. In December, the 6-6 forward was charged with punching a heckler in the nose in Milwaukee. He severely criticized teammates in a book, and in April he called General Manager Gene Shue a “clown” and a “caddie” for owner Harold Katz.
Barkley controversies in previous years include:
--Unhappy with the concept of the college draft after starring at Auburn, Barkley was determined not to sign a contract for the rookie minimum of $65,000, which was all the 76ers had available under the league’s salary cap. To scare the 76ers away, Barkley began an eating binge that included 20 meals in two days, and fattened himself to 291 pounds. The 76ers cut a player to open a salary slot, and Barkley signed a four-year deal for $2 million.
--Reportedly slapping an Indiana fan in 1988 (denied by Barkley).
--Getting arrested on a weapons charge for having a gun in his car in 1988 (charges dropped).
--Saying he bet with New York Knick guard Mark Jackson on who would make the big play in a January 1990 game ($5,000 fine).
--Slugging Detroit’s Bill Laimbeer in April of 1990 ($20,000 fine).
This spring, Barkley said the best way to help the 76ers win an NBA championship was for him to play elsewhere, and he listed Phoenix among his top five choices for a trade.
Barkley, 29, averaged 23.1 points and 11.1 rebounds last season, but the 76ers missed the playoffs with a 35-47 record.
The 76ers had found it difficult to make a trade for Barkley because of his $3.2-million annual salary.
The Suns managed to squeeze in Barkley’s salary under the $14-million cap by cutting guard Steve Burtt and forward Ian Lockhart.
“I’m a little nervous. I’m not sure, I’ve got to sit back and see how it goes,” Barkley said. “In shock? I just don’t know how I feel. I don’t know if I’m happy or sad. I have to pick up my family and move them across the country. It’s been a great eight years in Philadelphia and now I play for Phoenix. Whatever happens, I will deal with it.”
Career statistics of players involved in the trade between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Phoenix Suns:
23.3 pts., 11.6 rebs., 3.7 assists
22.4 pts., 13.1 rebs., 4.2 assists
13.7 pts., 3.7 rebs., 5.4 assists
17.6 pts., 5.2 rebs., 4.6 assists
4.8 pts., 4.5 rebs., 0.4 assists
3.1 pts., 2.7 rebs., 0.2 assists
6.8 pts., 3.9 rebs., 0.8 assists
6.0 pts., 2.7 rebs., 0.6 assists